In the Company of Big Animals

Uploaded by GoogleTechTalks on 27.10.2010

NACHOUM: I'm originally from Israel and about 30 years ago, I came to the United States
with the search of glory and who knows what else. I really wanted to learn film and television.
I went to New York University and I was accepted from 350 people that tried to get in, in 1980,
only 31 were accepted. Only later on I discovered that the three instructor that was actually
checking us out or evaluate our ability, they were Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola and
Woody Allen. I did not know any of them. In the 80, none of us know any of them, right?
Anyway, but that was a long story, that's a long time ago, so I'll put this in perspective.
I want to drive a taxi. That's what most Israelis or foreigner, and today it will be Indian
or Pakistanian, will do it. I want to drive a taxi in New York for six months until eventually
I have enough money and I started a company. And what I wanted to do really is involve
myself in the water and in underwater photography, to tell the story about the ocean and what
I knew about the ocean. During the time that I was driving a taxi, I was driving a taxi
at night and during the daytime, I was working as a diving guide or divemaster at a dive
shop in New York City. How many diver we have here? Beautiful. How many of you are photographer
also, holding a camera underwater? No, it doesn't make any difference what camera. That's
okay. I started from there. That's okay. That's perfectly all right. So if I speak fast, it's
only because I picked my English in New York driving a taxi. So please forgive me. If my
accent is difficult, I don't believe you because the 30% of Silicon Valley is all Israelis
anyway. So you already have been in business with an Israeli one time or another. So to
make the long story short, what I'm here, really, is to be able to share with you the
story and the privilege that America gave me. I was privileged, or I am privileged perhaps,
and visited over 131 nations all around the world, and believe me, there is no country
in the world like this country. No matter how difficulty, no matter what the obstacles,
the challenges we have, there is no country in the world and there is no Constitution
like we have in America. And no surprise, we reached this level. I was able to master
what you're going to see now only because either the country, the substance of this
country, the foundation and the people that believe in my dream and participate and join
me. As a photographer, there are two ways to go about it; either you go, you create
a portfolio, you send it to so many different places to get work, or you go out and execute
your own vision, my own dream. I chose the last one. I've chosen to work after my own
dream and make it available. However, in the process, what became very clearly that institution,
like magazine, television stations and network, were concerned that they were not able to
get their money's worth for my vision and for my dream. So I went and I did it alone,
trusting that people like yourself or other in America will join me, will participate
in what my dream is, because I'm not any different than any one of you. We all have dreams. But
some of you and me, may have seen our dreams and we can joint venture. So, I put my expertise
in the field. You put your expertise among the pixels and all those nanotechnology. I
put it out in the big animals. So let's go and see what I have in store for you. What
you're going to see today is anthology of years and almost 30 years of having found,
pushing the envelope, photographing on the edge of wilderness, comfort and common sense.
And I'm not saying that lightly. I desired very much to come back again. And thank you,
Vivian, again for the opportunity to work with people like yourself and to share because
you are on the edge of technology. Yes, you have all the comfort in the world, but you're
putting--you're pushing the envelope in what you do and that is fascinating. How we connect
some of the elements in your life, some of the elements of my life, and some of the elements
of somebody else and get--make a better life. And the idea in my view and my presentation
today is to be able to show you or to bring to your knowledge not a specific trait, not
a specific picture, but just the conglomerate issue of what the big animal, what the position
they have in our culture, and what we can do, each one of our self, small world or big
world, to protect them and to make them bet--to make them available for future generation.
And that will be just a glory for the big animal. But that's how I--most of the time,
an ugly shot like that is very unusual for me. I could not even put it in my pants because
I'm too fat by now. I'm not in the water for long time ago. Not long enough. But only that's--this
weekend, I'm leaving for Mexico, diving with a great white for about two weeks. And that
is my backyard. And all those places that you see here are the places where images and
the expedition that I'll conduct or I'm conducting all around the world. So if you go some time
sooner or later to my Web site, you'll be able to see all those places one by one as
they are relating. And we'll start with the polar bear. I will--all of you all probably
heard and knows what the polar bear plight and all the story about the global warming.
It is indeed taking effect and we don't know what will be the next generation, the next
step. However, what is important to know, that the polar bear are ancestors of the grizzly
and they are evolved into being polar bear only 300,000 years ago. It is not something
that take, like, sharks that live in the ocean 400 million years. Polar bear only evolved
in the past 300,000 years ago. So there are poses--the planet is on a continuous chase,
continuous evolution, continuous--and we are part of it right now. But to understand how
the polar bear live and to get close to that, that's what I do. And that's what we bring
in people in small group, my team usually about only four people when we go to look
at the polar bear and will give you few opportunity. So you ask me how close I was to the polar
bear, almost as close as I am to the front row right now. Understanding that every animal,
like human beings, we have a pattern of behavior. We have tools of how we protect, how we feed,
how we make babies. Also, animals have the same pattern, similar pattern. And the polar
bear in this case, its pattern or its protection is the sense of smell. So if the wind goes
away from the polar bear, he will not smell when we get close to it. The question is how
often I can do it. It takes a long time. You not--you'll not challenge the environment
and to guess the environment, you just play together with the wind until this happen.
So, usually, a trip like that may take two or three weeks, but we're able to achieve
result as you see right now. Everything is timely. Everything in the environment is about
time. It's about knowing exactly when the polar bear, or in this case, the animal, is
on nurturing, when they are mating, when they're migrating and when they are feeding. If we
know--if I know all of these, that's when I take the people with me on a trip for a
small window of opportunity throughout the year. That's why I don't repeat the same trips--the
same trip each year. There are only one trip of a kind every other month. But we'll be
able to bring this kind of opportunity, this kind of images. Vivian, can we ask somebody
to turn some of the light down so maybe the images will be seen better? I want also to
take you underwater, not just top side. And I want to share with you this. Anybody knows
what is that? Anybody? Yes, that's very good, Vivian. Thank you. That's the blue whale.
Any--what do you know about the blue whale? Anybody? Any idea? Big? How big?
>> Biggest in the world. >> NACHOUM: The biggest animal ever live on
the planet. Bigger than any dinosaurs. How big is it really? How long? How long?
>> Sixty feet. >> NACHOUM: Sixty feet. Any other number?
>> Hundred. >> NACHOUM: Hundred-feet long, yes. And eat
only plankton. There used to be about over a quarter of a million blue whales on your
planet. Today, how many left? Anybody knows? Hardly 12,000; 7,000 of them in the southern
hemisphere and about 5,000 on the northern hemisphere. And from the 5,000 on the northern
hemisphere, about 3,000--2,500 to 3,000 along the Coast of Mexico, back of California, California
and Washington State. Why? Because we have the mammal protection law in the United States
that also extend into Mexico and extend further up to Canada. So, protection. And when we
apply the protection, it's very helpful to support the existence of the animal and especially
the big one. And that's where you see really how big is this animal. That's aerial photography,
of course. The blow of the blue whale reach almost over 30 feet, 10-meter tall. Anybody
knows what is that? It's beluga whales. What are called the canary of the sea. And what
is that? What is that? >> A killer whale.
>> NACHOUM: There is no killer whale. There's no such things. That is how we use the language
and how we are mystify things and how we create bad reputation to many of the animal because
of lack of knowledge. Fear. The enemy of fear, number one, is lack of knowledge. Orcas are
actually dolphins. They're not even whales. There are in truth, dolphins. The name "killer
whale" have been adopted to the orca only because the Englishmen that came to translate
the manifest of the Spanish galleons of the 14th, 15th century could not give it any other
name because the Spaniard and the Portuguese, what they wrote in the manifest, they're looking
at an animal that's actually killing other whales. So they call it "killer whale." They
did not give it a name yet, orca. Only later on when we start to do research, when we start
to develop university along the coast of Canada, Washington, Norway and other parts of the
world, then we give them name. Today, we know there are about five different species of
orca in the wild. Two of them still unidentified in Antarctica and the other three that we
know of are resident, transient and nomad. And each one of them is different into where
which how they behave, which how--their social formation and how they feed. Those images
are from Norway where we see mostly, actually, transient--not transient--we see resident
orcas. Resident orca feed mostly on fish and there are a group of about 12 to 15 of them.
But the--all of the citation, the dolphin and whales, are actually led by females. And
same thing with the orcas. And there is not even one, not even one, accident ever happened
in the wild between orca and mankind. The only time there was an accident, anybody knows
where? >> SeaWorld.
>> NACHOUM: Bravo. So let's close them because that's bad reputation unnecessarily. And they
play without the need to have trainer and whistle and all kind of toy. They play freely
in the wild. That was a moment of really unforgettable moment in the history. In my case, being in
the wild for as long as I've been, and all of a sudden we had sunset in one hand, moonrise
on the other hand and the orca just passed in--under the mountain and in front of the
moon in Norway. Anybody knows where Norway is? Of course. We have Google Earth. And that's
the beauty of the sunset together with the orcas. And anybody knows what is that? What?
Great whale? What else? Humpback whales, humpback whales. Only 16,000 of them today are in the
wild [INDISTINCT]. How we know all of them, I don't know for sure, but I can tell you
quite from research and from all the environmental organization and the tech place, but especially
after the [INDISTINCT] of the Soviet Union, we were able to get into the record of the
Soviets, of the Finland, of the Norwegian, and the Iceland fishermen from the early part
of the previous century and then we'll be able to put all the number together how many
they have actually hunted. Not just the number they gave at a time publicly but get into
the record and only then find out really how many at least they have hunted. In addition
to what we have today, the science and researcher came to approximate numbers. And that is the
number I'll mentioned. Today, we have more accurate information about what's left in
the world. Again, not specifically, but much more accurate in a 10% to 20% margin of error,
but we have about 16,000 to 20,000 compared to 500,000 and this is a result of hunting.
And today, there is no reason for that whatsoever. Although, the Norwegian and the Icelandic
and the Russian or the [INDISTINCT]. We can swim with them just like with the humpback,
just like with the orcas, just like with, you know, close with the polar bear. Understanding,
we can also actually snorkel. Actually, no scuba, no BC, no weight, just with our own
air, be able to snorkel with them because snorkeling is perhaps the best activity to
meet the big animal. Just like for us men, be gentle is the easiest way to get to any
woman if we want to--nobody's laughing anymore--simply because big animals are most vulnerable when
they are on the surface. They're on the surface because they need to breathe. And when they're
there, that's the only time where we can really match and get close to them. And the moment
they get to the water, they took their breath and they went underwater, after the first
five feet there is no way for us humans ever to reach to get them because they are much
faster, stronger than us. But when they are on the surface, then that's all a question
of timing and coordination. That's why any of the expedition I lead, the photographic
expedition, for the animals, are with small group. It was only four to six people only
to get the maximum result and the ability not to affect the animal and not to really
impose on them. Only two people at a time as we descend to the water, so the animal
will be interactive with us like in these images. Or like with this image, this is a
single. Among the whales, the Humpback Whale is the only one--the male actually sing to
attract the female toward them. And in the water as I was mentioning before, the water
are three or 800 times denser than air. So, let me ask you that, where will be the best
acoustic place in the world? Carnegie Hall, the Opera House in Sydney, or underwater?
Underwater. Three hundred sixty degrees, 800 times denser, any vibration that this single
humpback whale will do your heart will pump together with the music. It will be actually
echoing in the vacuum or in the air space that you have in your lung. It's absolutely
stunning. Whale mother and calf. Again, as I mentioned, it's all a question of timing
to know in all animal--and you see that the pattern will repeat itself, either among the
orcas, among the polar bear, and among the humpback whale, it's about feeding, about
migrating and about nurturing, knowing the right timing to be able to bring this kind
of encounters between you and the animals. And the animals who come very close and anybody--we
said that we have seven photographers here. This is a very, very wide angle lens. As a
matter of fact, this is a fisheye lens, that means that I was less than one feet away from
this juvenile humpback whale that came in. It was very curios what am I doing in the
water. And that is a breach, 40 ton of animal lifts itself out of the water and we don't
know why. There is no reason that human can develop--and we say that communication, removing
parasite--we really don't know why. But they can do it and they're doing it. And that's
the classic of the tail of the humpback whale, dripping water in Alaska. Well, moving rather
along for another creature of a lot of excitement and colors. And those are the dolphins. There
are about three dozen different species of dolphin in the wild and those are--these one
in particular are--those are the bottlenose dolphin in Galapagos. This is the common dolphin,
the Atlantic common dolphin in South Africa. Of course, this is the bait ball where the
dolphins are feeding on. And what is that? What's that? Go ahead. No, no, go ahead. It's
good. What do you think is that? >> [INDISTINCT]
>> NACHOUM: [INDISTINCT], what else? >> Sailfish.
>> NACHOUM: Sailfish, what else? It is indeed a sailfish. There are about seven--there are
seven species of what they call the billfish family. There are swordfish, there are blue
marlin, there are marlin, there are stripe marlin, white marlin, sailfish and maybe one
more that I forgot at the moment. However, there wasn't any pictures of sailfish until
about four years ago. Anybody knows what happened four years ago? [INDISTINCT] remember? It
was the first time that both stories of the Blue Planet and the images of the--of this
sailfish and I was the one that actually took them out there into Mexico to dive actually
off the [INDISTINCT] 15 minutes off Cancun into the water of Isla Mujeres. If anybody
been there will know. It's a beautiful little island, very rustic it was at the time, but
today it's becoming almost like a hub after Cancun because it become very popular among
the fisherman and among the diver. After [INDISTINCT] about, everybody plunking out there. Yes?
>> How big is that? >> NACHOUM: The fish is about nine feet long
and the bill is about one-third of the whole fish. It is the fastest fish in the ocean.
It clocked at over 75 miles per hour, faster than a cheetah on the land. It is fantastic.
But the only time to catch those images, and the one that you see next, is when they're
actually coming by--they're coming into Mexico to this particular part of the water in a
particular time of the year, in January, February, to feed on the Brazilian sardine. And here
as you see is the bait ball of the sardine. Nobody knew. And, you know, a lot of fisherman
going for many, many, many years, [INDISTINCT] and the rest, have been catching those sailfish
and those marlin in Cuba, in Mexico, in Peru, everywhere else. But hardly anybody until
four years ago--actually, not hardly, it's clearly, nobody with a camera went to the
water about four or five years ago--five years ago when I went, I called the BBC and when
they did Blue Planet, they call [INDISTINCT] okay, put us together with the story and we
set up the set-up. And that is the evidence. We told you about bait ball. Bait ball happened
many different parts of the world all the time, especially in the remote island. In
this case, off Galapagos. Anybody been in Galapagos before besides Vivian? You, have
you been all the way in Darwin and Wolf? >> No, no.
>> NACHOUM: No? Then most don't--northern island.
>> I don't know. >> NAHCOUM: You don't know. There is two island
up north of the equator of [INDISTINCT] called Darwin and Wolf. The middle of nowhere, 600
mile from any land and 100 mile north of Galapagos itself, they are a part of Galapagos. And
they are [INDISTINCT] there's no land. They need to feed. They need food. And the food
is in the water, so all with sea birds. And when you watch well enough, you'll be able
to see eventually the birds feeding and then the tuna feeding underwater on a bait ball.
And those are actually yellowtail tuna [INDISTINCT] fish actually use its bill, like the baseball
bat used in a baseball game. They actually hit the fish with the bill. They move it like
that all the time into the school. But only one sailfish at a time. All the other sailfish
will wait until one finish and then it come the second round of like it [INDISTINCT] moving
very, very fast. And just like this one. Anybody heard about the BBC Wildlife Competition of
the Year? The Photographer of the Year? So about three years ago, this picture took the
first place in the underwater photography. This was the moment as--again, very fast fish,
very fast action. And to catch it when he took the bait or to take the bait in its mouth,
it was very--I was, I guess very lucky to be able to capture it and bring it alive.
And this picture taken actually from the side of my shoulder. That's no manipulation and
no Photoshop-ing and nothing, any other elements. It's just the way it is, captured in camera
at one time. And after everybody has seen the bait and you see the blood that actually
already--the fish already bleeding between the two parts of the bill. What is that? Great
white. What does it do? Breaching out of the water. It was very--it was a situation that
was up until seven or eight years ago, nobody knew of--or if we knew about it, nobody reported
or did anything about it. This actually happened only in South Africa. The great white breach
also other places but not to such extraordinary behavior. The reason why exactly we don't
know, but the purpose of the great white breaching is because they are looking after there actually
seals that moving out from the island in early part of the morning. So in order to do that,
after a year or two or three observing that, it become clear that the great white, just
like all other predators, like all other master of their ability are very conservative animal
despite their power, despite the uniqueness ability that nature gave to them. They are
not a man eater. They are not eat anything they see. They are very methodical. There
is an island just off Cape Town called Seal's Island, about 45,000 to 60,000 seals on it.
Come January and they give birth, the seal population give birth. The population rise
to about almost 60,000. The adult will have to go to sea to bring more fish for them for
food. And [INDISTINCT] July, this is where the most migration of a big and the bigger
seals go out to sea. The shark will arrive around Seal Island around May, June and wait
for the opportunity. Seal's Island, it is relatively deep. If you go to the water there
is a steep cliff, it goes to about 40, 60 feet before it reach the bottom and that's
how they rise out of the surface. The great white patrol around it, especially in the
morning hours. And exactly like all surfer. When surfer go to sea? Early morning and late
afternoon. When the shark operate? Early morning, late afternoon. Why? The sun hardly rise over
the horizon, the angle of the sun over the horizon is the angle of penetration into the
water, the light. So the lesser the angle, or the more angle, lesser, lesser activity.
But a shark can see there is a light on the surface, the shark [INDISTINCT] on the surface.
The seal cannot see the shark underwater because there's not enough light. Beside the shark
on the back of it, it's dark over like the water, totally stealth. The shark will go
straight up 40 feet to accelerate and to catch the seal. The seal don't know what hit it.
Come the light, eight, nine o'clock in the morning, the operation or the nature went
to sleep, until later on four or five o'clock in the evening again. In order to be able
to do that, we have to emulate the behavior of the seal and we tow behind [INDISTINCT]
a dummy, a plastic or a rubber dummy, about 20 feet away from the boat and wait for the
moment for the shark to jump out and here you go. So three years ago in the BBC competition,
the Photographer of the Year, this also had the first place in animal behavior. And [INDISTINCT]
get close to the animal and to bring really the behavior be able to put almost--not almost,
I put actually--the camera was in the mouth of the shark and take it away and be able
to bring the images back. Because understanding how the shark operate, and that's because
of this understanding, I, next week as Vivian knows and hopefully she'll join me next year--when
we go to Mexico and there is a great white, there is one thing that all operator do continuously
including Discovery, we do the very unethical things. It is challenging the shark, actually
teasing them and irritating them, by putting blood and chum in the water to take them to
the camera. But if you don't put chum or blood and not take it away from them, the shark
will care less and they'll swim around me, just like I'm a piece of nothing in the water.
And you don't believe me, am I right? Let's see. That's the animal that was captured in
our imagination. That's the animal that the media wanted to use so badly. That's the image,
Discovery have used this exact image. In '93, they used this as a poster. They turned it
vertical, they make it a poster and all over the front of buses and all over New York,
California and Texas and Chicago to promote the Shark Week. But the truth of the matter
is that we don't use blood because this is the prey, what you see here, are the seals.
Well, that's what they feed on. If we don't use chum and blood in the water, we can sit
on the edge of comfort and against common sense because there is nothing to do with
what we've been feed. We can swim openly, freely, safely with a great white. However,
if we'll not be too bravado or too macho's or imposing our superiority, perhaps superiority
over the wilderness. On the contrary, living with the wilderness like making love to nature,
make love with nature, nature will be able to show us some most amazing moments just
like this. And this is not again, no touched and not expended and not been blown, it is
over 50 millimeter lens. Especially I use this lens in order to bring the image of the
shark and distort it. All photographers know, and if you don't know, of anytime you go to
a movie and you see anything, lenses have the ability actually to distort the images.
There is depth of field. There is shallow depth of field, a [INDISTINCT] depth of field
and distort the images because of what they call the false perspective. But when we take
a 50 millimeter lens, which is almost like exactly what we see in our own eyes, we'll
be able to get this particular images. And that's a picture that one of my client took
of me swimming with a great white last year. Face to face as I'm closest to the people
on the front row. And that's the image I got in my camera. And I allow the shark to come
even closer toward me. This is another photographer. That's even close, half the distance between
us two. And that's the image I got then. So if the movie created such--how do you call
it, memories in our mind, I have to do--to try to do the same thing, rather the opposite,
remove this negative and be able to share with you the knowledge how this happened and
how to avoid it, or what to participate if you want to participate in something that
has the positive effect on your life, on the life of the animal, and the life of nature.
But not only to the great white, we come even closer with this. Anybody know what is that?
>> The whale shark. >> NACHOUM: The whale shark. How big is the
whale shark? >> Huge.
>> NACHOUM: How huge is huge? It's not as huge as Google. But how huge is huge? It's
about 40, 45 feet long. One of the three or four different species of shark that feed
only on plankton and it's the largest of all the shark species. So it does not have to
eat meat in order to be large. You can eat plankton and you are the largest. Which is
bring another problem altogether, it is not necessarily the place right now, but the over
fishing of plankton in the southern ocean in and around Antarctica by the country like
the Soviet Union, China and other, and they use that mostly for fertilization and food
for their animal stocks. That is becoming a problem because they are competing practically
with the albatross which are in decline and of course with all the large whale, the blues,
the sei, the fin whale, the humpback, and all of the other whale that actually go to
the Antarctica to feed during the summertime, in Antarctica summer time, our winter time.
And here is the example of the size of this mouth of this animal together with the driver
just beside that. It could swallow it very easily but it does not really happen. We can
imagine whatever we want to imagine. And, of course, these stories and this stigma of
this very prehistoric look like of them, of the hammerhead sharks, out of Galapagos. When
you see them in great numbers, sometime hundreds together, but very--and then unusual shape
of the head, and the eyes all together by the side, but they come very, very close to
the reef and they are waiting for their--actually for the butterflyfish to come and to clean
them and they open mouths like--just like we see it in a barber shop waiting for the
opportunity to somebody come clean and give us a good time. There you are. But that's
the drama that you're looking for. That's the event, the phenomenal event, that you're
looking for. The schooling Hammerhead, sometime hundred to a thousand. It could be three,
five, sometime up to seven, eight minutes parade of those school and they are in the
distance between me and the third--the second or the third row from here. Or this, or this.
Anybody knows what is that? >> Ray.
>> NACHOUM: Ray, what kind of ray? They are mobula rays. They are not mantas, they are
mobula rays. They are smaller in size and they feed also on plankton and they move in
a big crowd. In this case, about 40 or 50 of them at one time off the coast of Galapagos
Island again. And this is the manta ray. This is the Oceanic manta ray or the giant manta
ray, almost 20 feet from wing tip to wing tip. And this is, not a sailfish, what is
that? Striped marlin. A striped, yes. It's a marlin and there's--it's that marlin about
almost 12 feet, about 2 feet larger than the sailfish. And again, the bill is about one-third
of the fish, the fish length. They are as fast as a sailfish and they are--you can find
them in exactly opposite side of Mexico. If the sailfish was found out in the Caribbean,
then the marlin we would find out in the Atlanta--in the Pacific of Cabo San Lucas. And let's see
how the marlin feed. The marlin feed a lit bit different than the sailfish. And as you
see, as the marlin here coming in to the school, actually he use his bill like we use the chopsticks.
Anybody knows how to eat with chopsticks? You remove one sushi at a time, right? Look
at the fish--the picture is not very clear, unfortunately, but in--on the edge of the
bill, you'll see one of the sardine and then it took it. It's the last day of the life
of this sardine. It is fun being in the water. It's joy. The water actually will carry you.
As long as you just not fight with it, just let the water do what the water does and get
along with it, the water will just carry you like being in the womb of the mother. Seventy
percent or more of our planet is ocean. Seventy percent of the planet is giving us over 50%
of the oxygen that we breathe on. And we polluted it galore. Anybody--most of you heard about
the plastic island that we have somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean all the
way throughout Japan. And all the pollution that we throw into the water, factories from
all over the country, including United States, and all the other developing country, we have
to do something about it because there is no place as beautiful as--look at these images.
Look at this coloration. Look at the animal that's suffering, animal that we can relate
to. They are our size, a turtle, we can relate to one to one. They are happy to be where
they are. How can we continue contaminate, or really continue avoid playful with them?
They are part of a playground. This is--I showed you the world of the--the map of the
world, that's my playground. I don't have to go to Yosemite only, the ocean, the rest
of the world is our playground. And they are beautiful things out there to play with. Like
those seals in the kelp of South Africa or the narwhal out in the high Arctic or the
pink dolphin from the Amazon river. Even the anaconda. I know the movie create such drama
and such a--it's a piece of cake, fortunately, understanding that anaconda doesn't feed underwater.
They feed on the land. But they don't feed underwater. And then would do nothing. We
swim with them, 24-feet long animal. This is how we find some of the animals in the
ocean. We cannot see into the water but we can use the same understanding that the old
generation had. We don't need sophistication and we don't need the Google Ocean to find
out where are the service because Google Ocean doesn't know unless I tell them. And that's
what happen when you look from the surface into the water, half over, half under. The
birds on top, the sailfish on the bottom, and between them are the bait ball or are
the sardines. Going to Antarctica. We're not necessarily going to be like Titanic. It happened
once in history. We learned the lessons. We dive under the ice, which is like diving in
a palace. And we see these amazing vistas of the continent that's totally frozen. It
go through changes like everything else. It goes through out the changes. But we have
the gear. We have the equipment. We are knowledgeable. And this exist if you just reach out a little
bit farther away from the normal life and be able to do those things, they're very unusual
things, and to see these unusual places. Look how small we are under this planet that's
called ocean. And this is the edge of the ice and what we see under the ice, those jellyfish.
That's how the old generation were looking and listening to whales, and before they arrive
into the crack in the ice. Those are the Inuit guide. And with those guys will be working
in the field, on the edge of wilderness, to be able to bring different kinds of experiences
rather than drive in the freeways of America or sitting at Starbuck, we're sitting on the
edge of the ice, in a tent, for three weeks, looking for polar bear or looking for the
narwhal. And those are the guys who'd be able to tell us exactly because they don't have
navigation, hardly ever a satellite phone working there. And the walruses. And the lonely
walrus that went to die and she moved away just like the Indian, the American Indian,
you will leave the--she would leave the home and go by herself into farther way in the
ice and look at the size of those tusks, she was probably about 11 or 12 years old which
is the maximum that walrus could live and she went to die by herself, away from everybody
else. And mother and calf. On the edge of comfort, wilderness, and on the edge of noise.
Two hundred fifty thousand of king penguin of the island of South Georgia. And sorry,
if my English is believable--just staggering from the smell, from the noise, and from the
vistas altogether. And only one place on the planet you see something like that. And it's
one of the most beautiful island you will ever see and that's is the, you call it the--I
call it the Grandiose (ph) as they stand up, as we lower ourselves down, it's about 30
inch--about 30 inch tall, 32 inches tall, laid myself down and looked at the mountain
behind, which was over almost 2,000 feet, and the penguin in front of us, they are the
king. They are just--give you a chance. That's a reason to live. That's a reason to breathe,
to do something so fascinating. Who'd designed anything like that with those colors, with
those wings, and able to swim in the water and to walk on the land, all at the same time.
Looking for predators, waiting to be eaten. But there is a predator roaming around the
ice and the only one of it's kind. And we are all ready to catch his--its picture. We're
all ready for the moment. And they want to know--anybody knows what is that? Leopard
seals, the only predator that is in Antarctica. And actually, very interestingly, only during
two months it feed on penguins, on meat, on meals, on meat. The rest of the time of the
year, they feed on plankton. And look at the size of the teeth, the canine teeth and the
grinding teeth, that this animal got. Mother Nature is very, very unique. The animal look
like a prehistoric. It's a nine feet, 9 to 12 feet, long. And it is powerful and it's
fast. It's so agile. It's second that we'd never seen anything like that. And very curious
by--as diver being together in the water with them. They are a perfect hunter. But this
is also a perfect places for people like all of us, clear, fresh water and 300 foot visibility
or more that you notice in Mexico. And, of course, among the big animal we cannot forget
the gorillas out in Rwanda, or the lion and the buffalos in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
Anybody knows what is that? And what is this? What is this? This is the cheetah. And so
what is that? Leopard, right. Well, we're getting somewhere. And I'm getting away from
you guys. This is on--anybody knows Argentina? Peninsula Valdes? Anybody heard about Peninsula
Valdes? A world heritage site is in--actually, a peninsula completely closed to--stopped
to be developed by the World Heritage Foundation and there are only one--for one particular
reason, there are group of orcas that still, the only place in the world, which they will
come in and feed by stranding themselves on the beaches and take the seals out of the
beach. And if you seen the latest movies of Disney, and they are some section in this
particular place when the orca come on the beach and take the animals away. Once in every
two or three years I run a special trip out there and that's the edge of the place in
Peninsula Valdes. And then one of the gauchos there had arrived in horse and sees I'm an
Israeli, he's the only one that let me ride on a horse and it was this, I guess, going
just to--I got another native images from the island of Palau--on the island of Yap
in the Pacific. And to let you know that all these images are taken actually in the natural
setting and all the animal depicted here are free and wild. None of them been fed. None
of them been trained. None of them in captivity. All in the wilderness and all are there somewhere
in the ocean that you can be able to see if you'll join me. If you are--if you're interested
in any of the trips, either photography or expeditions or want to know more, one of the
best place to find information is, one of the best place besides National Geographic
or Noah (ph) is to find from--on my website, All right. Any questions?
Yes? >> Do you have an incoming trip that we can
join? >> NACHOUM: Yes, trip that you can join. This
open--that's open to the public. That's the reason I ask you. If any of you, please, before
you leave, just fill me up then--there's a card that I left with you, I'll be able to
continue to be in touch with you. As today, as you know today, by the media--not the media
but the network or the server are not allow us to send mass mailing to people unless people
give us the permission to use and to send you an email. I cannot do that anymore. Otherwise,
they will not let--if they--if you're email is not certified that I've received it from
you I cannot use it. So if you want to receive information, I'll be delighted to send you
but only through these cards. Any more questions? Yes.
>> Have you ever been hurt? >> NACHOUM: Only in my heart. I was hurt once
and that is the result only of human error. I was hurt once by, actually, by walrus. When
you operate with the walrus, you need to have, I need to have always a back-up with me, somebody
watching my back because as you saw on the images, the walrus is mostly on the iceberg,
but there are other walruses will just coming back home. And usually mother and calf, that's
the season. So we got off the boat. I got first with my camera, I'm ready to go, and
the safety divers supposed to come behind me. He did and I did not pay attention, I
continue moving because when you are with a camera, you're going to work, your safety
diver is supposed to be behind you. He went to the water but unfortunately he lost his
tank. The tank was fall off of the carry, of the BC, so he was delayed getting to me.
I did not know that. I'm looking at the--to where the iceberg where the walruses were.
And all of the sudden, I felt something strange. About, you know, you sometimes you a sixth
or seventh sense or ninth sense? The hair out in your back stand up and you know something
is wrong. And I looked to my side and this female was very, very close toward me. And
she had a cub with her. So she's clearly going for me because she was very close with the
tusk. If I will stay where I am, all this area will be the most sensitive area of humankind
will be affected. I turned my butt and she nabbed me on my butt. She made a hole in the
dry suit and then I got flooded with water, got up and put air in my BC, and she came
again. But the second time when she came again, I turned around and then we had a distance
and I could raise my head with my leg with my fin and it was a distance between us, she
understood that I'm not after her. She continued and I took her picture and she went home.
But that's the only time that really we'll get close to be hurt. It is--that's what I
do. That's what people do when--I have over 30 years of immaculate record, but managing
risk. Well, as you probably--as I mentioned to you before, I'm from Israel. I was an officer
in the military about almost 12 years in the Special Forces. Managing risk, it is what
we do, what we learn to do. It doesn't make any difference. It's not necessary be uniform.
It's not necessary to be guns. It's not necessary--it is knowing, understanding what the risk you
are facing and how to manage it and to avoid it. But how to reach the goal that you want
to despite this element is knowledge is the enemy of all fear. And that's the key. The
more knowledge, the more experience in the field. Every time pushing the envelope just
one step--don't let the envelope break because if you blow in it too hard, it will break.
Push it one step at a time and be able to see the result, measure it and move again,
and retreat. If you need to retreat, it is a very proud things to do. Retreat, it is
not a defeat. And defeat is when you're not be able to stand here and share with you the
experiences. Any more question? Yes. >> [INDISTINCT] you mentioned that [INDISTINCT].
>> NACHOUM: It is about being a long time in the field. Yes, just being in the field.
I did not learn in any other way. I did not have, sorry to say or good to say, I did not
have education. But the education was in a knock--with real knock of life. I paid dearly
for that. But, again, thank for America for the ability. I borrowed the money. I was able
to return--pay back and that's what gave me the chance to learn, being in the field. And
if you read the bio that Vivian put together, in any of the trip I ran as a businessman,
I realized in order for me to gain anything I had to have the leader of the world in their
businesses; either marine biology, research, photography, to be co-host with me on the
trip. I learned from them while I went along. Yes?
>> But what about the [INDISTINCT]. >> NACHOUM: You just said it. You just also
yourself--very, very close to the subject. You cannot have powerful enough strobe to
match the light from the sun. When you work with wide angle lens versus working with a
macro, wide angle lens may be capturing a lot space, you have to count on the ambient
light. The strobe you bring in is only like a painter bring a brush over, just to highlight
several elements. You touch a very interesting point and I'll take one more minute. I learned
photography not in photography classes, not in photography school, not from any photographer.
I learned from the people which their--which their prints or images sell for millions.
Anybody can give two names of--or three names of people that their picture of prints sell
for millions? [INDISTINCT] photographer, print, painter, painter that sell for million. They
are the best teacher in the world. [INDISTINCT] Van Gogh, Monet, all those--and those picture
are for free. You go to any museum in the world and you could sit for hours and watch.
Not what they're try to tell you as a photographer but only how they paint the light. Guys, painter
have the difficult, have a difficult job to do. They have only white canvas. They have
to create everything to put on the canvas; the color, the position, the composition,
everything else. As an underwater photographer, I have exactly opposite challenge. I have
the most creative photo--painter in the world and creator. He put everything in the water.
The only thing He did not put in the water is the white light because the water--light
absorbs through the water very fast and the first 30 feet, you have--you don't see any
more red, no yellows and only green and blue. So as a photographer, my task is how to bring
the light out and how to understand the light. And the second job is if I--I don't have a
canvas, so--but what I have is a lens and to select what part of the animal or the scenery
I see that I want to capture to share with you. That's the parallel, that's how I look
at it. I was sitting hours, honestly and looking at the prints or painting of the great painters
to understand what they've done and that's what I took with me to the water. But not
because of a photographer because I don't think you can learn photography unless you
do it. And unless you put it out of the market to sell and you see what people react and
how they buy and how they react to the images as some of you reacted today.
>> Can you tell us your proudest image? And can you talk about the image that you missed?
>> NACHOUM: I cannot tell you about images that I missed because then I'll be very sorry.
That is indeed the dilemma that all photographer deal with because nobody at home know what
we went through or what I gone through. There are moments that we miss, but these are not
the moment that we dwell on, it's the moment where we learn the mistakes or we learn what
we did not know at the time and how it make it better. But I can tell you the moment which
I'm proud of is like the breach in great white or like the one with the striped marlin with
the fish in its mouth. It's timely second to none and that is what make the difference
in still photography versus when you do video. The anaconda, the anaconda was swimming in
actually in barren river until it eventually came over the green grass. And I was waiting
for that. You take back all the time with Mother Nature. So you miss a lot of different
things. I missed several images of the narwhal as they come in towards--as you saw the narwhal
with the tusk out. There were other images which I totally missed. Then there are images
that--of a polar bear that actually was--he had a prey and put his paws over the prey
and rolled it over. But I changed lenses at that time. You miss. But nobody know those
images except we have to live with it. And we do. Next time, we do better and better
and better. And that's the challenge. That's what keep me doing it compared to being in
the military and wearing uniform and commanding and running after. But that's the challenge,
the excitement and the productivity, and the beauty you bring to the world rather than
sorrow and pain. Yes? >> [INDISTINCT]
>> NACHOUM: The million dollar question. I really don't know. I know I don't take many
pictures while I'm shooting. I don't take many. No, I don't take many because it is
a mind set. Again, remember the painter I talked to you about? They knew what they're
going to paint. Da Vinci, Angelo, Rembrandt, Monet, all of them, Van Gogh, [INDISTINCT]
they knew what they're going to paint. They elaborate about their painting, about their
colors and what they do, until eventually they get what they want. I think the same
because I start from the school of film, not from the school of digital. Digital can shoot
305--800,000 images in one count. I start with the school of 36 frame so I have to be
very methodical in the way which how--what is the subject about to choose, what I'm looking
for. And the best photography, in my view, in photograph--in icon images are images that
you saw before you photograph it or you thought you're going to see and what happens is Mother
Nature in most time have actually outdid my own imagination and gave me a present bigger
than any. Like the image of the blue whale on the back of the card. You said the image
of the blue whale with the fin open is an image that I've seen earlier in the--about
'87 or '87 or '88 in National Geographic by Flip Nicholin. And there's an image of a fin
whale across the two pages with a beautiful sunset in Baha. I really wanted to have this
image or really--but as a good person, we don't copy, we emulate. We don't copy. So
when I went eventually to Baha in the mid-90 and tried to get my own image, when the blue
whale was just a foot of us, I had to make a decision, either I'm going to take the picture
of the whole blue whale or half of it because it's so big the lens could not take it or
find something else. And all of the sudden, this blue whale actually was resting on the
surface. It allowed me to think for a moment and to be fast if I could, because that's
the human element, and move toward the tail which is much more powerful rather than the
whole body, which would be very long and not distinguished, but over the tail and look
over the horizon and see the island. And that was a gift. It is not something that I could
dream about. I was impressed by the image that I've seen in '87, but Mother Nature at
that moment, if I was not open to receive the information that's given to me, I would
not see it. I'll just do the same thing as other people did and move on. But at the moment
you look at other opportunities. Always look at other opportunities. Just like Google does.
Honestly, you guys, or whoever managing and running and driving you, they are just brilliant.
Never had about bait ball. So you--that means that you have to join me because that's what
I'm looking for. The bait ball is where the action is. Most of diving trip, most trip,
period, take people into places which is very usual and very common and they put down to
walk either to see the Louvre, either to see the Eiffel, or either to see--jump to the
water, if you go diving, to see the reef, the coral reef, the clown fish and the eels,
and the so on and so forth. But they are not focusing, not willing to take the risk, to
see something which not predictable. Bait ball is not predictable. There is time and
places around the world that could happen. That is where I put my effort. You will have
to look for an operator that is really looking for something like that to be able to give
you the opportunity. Oh, why is the ball? Because the small fish, like people, when
there is an explosion they all run together. They hug each other for protection. So they
all get together very, very tight. They hope they will not be taken by the predators because
they will be in the center of the group. But the group is turning around and everybody
want to be on the center. So is everybody in and out, in and out and that's the bait
ball. The bait because the bigger fish come feed on them. Then come the tuna, and then
come the dolphin, and then come the sharks, and the berets on the top, and a photographer
like us come and take their picture. Any more question? Yes.
>> [INDISTINCT] >> NACHOUM: I love film. I grew up on film.
But there's no film yet anymore almost to be processed, especially slides, to be processed
and to get the result. And digital today really, coming to an age of excellent in delivering
good--delivering quality. So it's a toast. It is just because I raise on film and the
black and white and the color and we like some of the nuances that the cut--that the
film has, but the dynamic range of a digital reaching to the level of quality of what film
did. So in the next year or two or three, we'll have digital perhaps even suppress film
and we have to deal with that. If you heard about HDR, yes? HDR prints have remarkable
details in images that we could not do in film. So there is a--there is a positive progression
and increasing value and increasing quality. Any more, guys? I'm sorry?
>> [INDISTINCT] >> NACHOUM: I used to carry more than one
camera, yes. But in today because of the digital, I'd--you don't need. You have 800, a thousand
frames you can shoot on those 32 gigabyte cards, you can do video at the same time,
so it's one lens in my kind of work, specialty on the big animals, so only one camera. When
you go to work on the reef, it's a different story. Because when we work with big animal,
we are in an open ocean. It's wild, it's wilderness. The encounter could be very short, like, maybe
30 seconds or it can be even half an hour. But over--but you have only one subject, one
big subject to photograph, so only one lens will work well. But when you work on the reef
it's a different story because in the reef you have other elements that you can photograph.
It will be a seal. It would be a sea fin. It will be sponges. It will be the clown fish.
It will be the fish giving birth or the fish laying eggs. It's different cameras you want
to carry with you. And also when you are working on a reef, you're going to be on shallow water;
30, 40, 60 feet. You can stay much longer. Hour, hour and a half, two hours, if you are
on night treks without problem and then give you--but you want to have more cameras, even
digital, yes. It's all in the line of work. It's like everything else. You have a computer,
and you have a handheld, and you have the iPod, and the whatever. The same thing in
a photography, it's only tools to do the job and know about the job you want to do, or
if you have a fan and you want--you have a particular vision, how to keep your vision
and bring it to light. Thank you very much. Or any more question? Who is coming on a trip
to--this weekend? We're going to do a great white swimming in and out of the cage. All
right. Thank you very much, guys.